Finding The Best Of Historic Cyprus.

By: Kevin Moore

Historic Cyprusdraws visitors in search of culture to her shores year after year and it is hardly surprising. The Island is a veritable treasure chest of ancient ruins and historic places of interest. Over the centuries Cyprus has had countless visitors and they haven't all come in search of a sun tan or cool beer either. Each of these conquering empires have left their mark indelibly on the Islands culture in some form or another and if you know where to look there is a fascinating historic trail to follow. Ever since 700 BC when the first settlers of the Neolithic period arrived in Cyprus there has been some invader or another adding her to their expanding empire. History however teaches us that all empire rises only to fall. Today historic Cyprus governs herself having survived with her own unique culture and way of life remaining intact.

The strongest influence on the Island is of course Greek and they (the Greeks) remained in control from 1050 BC to 800 BC when Cyprus was made up of 10 separate Greek kingdoms. A trip to the remains of the ancient city of Kourion also translated into the Greek as Curium makes a great starting place for your journey through historic Cyprus. Situated about 20k outside the busy port town of Limasoll, Kourion endured right up until the early middle ages. Evidence of this can be seen in the different ages of some of the ruins such as an early Christian Basilica and the remains of the Roman baths.

The most stunning construction at Kourion of course is the 2000 seat amphitheatre where the crowds would have roared as gladiators locked together in mortal combat. Be sure to look out for the fabulous mosaic floors that adorn many of the houses and the public baths. This great City became just another piece of historic Cyprus following a series of earthquakes lasting 800 years that finally ruined it completely.

The Island was visited at least three times by the Egptians first around 1500 BC and then again in 500 BC followed by a final visit in the 325 BC. They remained as rulers of Cyprus until the Romans turned up in 58 BC and decided to spoil the party by taking over the Island along with the rest off most of the know world. Most people will be aware of the well documented power struggle that then ensued between Mark Anthony, Caesar and Queen Cleopatra as she endeavored to hold onto her empire. Unfortunately most of the evidence of the Egyptian occupation of Cyprus has been plundered over the years first by the Americans and later the British. Historic Cyprus buffs can however see several Egyptian artifacts in room 8 of the Cyprus museum in Nicosia. These include some bronze tools, weaponry and stone statues of Egytian Gods.

As with everywhere else they went the Romans left a huge impact on Cyprus too. For anyone looking for the part Rome played in historic Cyprus Paphos is a good place to start. Not only are their some fabulous ancient Roman ruins there but the area is virtually littered with places of historic interest. 300 yards from Paphos harbor are the mosaic floors of the ancient houses of Dionysus, Orpheus and Aion along with the villa of Theseus. Made from small cubes of stone and marble they are an amazing sight designed with intricate images which must have taken months to construct. Near the modern Paphos light house stands a second century AD odeon which has been restored to play host to summer concerts and stage productions. Imagine an evenings entertainment sitting right where the Romans sat all those years ago.

If you are still thirsting for more of historic Cyprus there is lots of evidence of the Venetian occupation and the Ottorman Empire. The Island has some beautiful Byzantine churchesHealth Fitness Articles, medieval forts and more ancient monasteries than you can shake a stick at. The next occupation was by the British who ruled Cyprus from 1878 to 1955 until after a 5 year struggle Cyprus became independent. Following a failed military coupe involving the Greek army in 1974 Turkey invaded the North of the Island and have been there ever since. If you want to get a better perspective of this phase of Historic Cyprus it's well worth visiting the cultural center in Derinya close to the Famagusta border with Northern Cyprus. There is an excellent movie presentation showing archive footage of the British occupation and the Turkish invasion. Enjoy learning about historic Cyprus.

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